Monday, August 30, 2010
Please Stop By Again Next Week
30 aug 10 @ 3:43 am cdt
Diagnosed with a life-threatening case of anemia, I have to take some time off from everything while
the docs try to reverse it/find the cause. Please stop by again. I am posting brief updates on my facebook page.
Thank you for caring!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Back Next Week
26 aug 10 @ 4:23 am cdt
Please bear with me this week. I keep running out of time to write as the sun comes up yet another day.
up with life on the RR, on my Houston Chron blog, www.chron.com/rescuevolunteer. Today's story? "My Rule of Two."
I am trying to review this site as well to restore and update
some pages that were archived. Hopefully, that project will be done by next week, too. In the meantime, if you
want to mail something to the RR for the dogs or for Project Hope, this is our mailing address only:
945 McKinney Street #242
Houston, TX 77002
Please be sure to include your email address so I can let
you know your package arrived. Thank you for caring!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Start Working On First Aid Kit
21 aug 10 @ 3:59 am cdt
All is well. Mike is home. We are trying to save a little 2 1/2 week old puppy with distemper this weekend.
She is snow white and the last survivor of her litter. Even her mama died last night of neurologic (not neurological)
distemper. (Usually, the mother's don't die so this has to be a very serious case.) Finally, late today someone gave the foster
Project Hope's info. I pray that it is with enough time to make a difference.
If you have animals in your house,
please have a first aid kit--with your-animal-specific supplies. Cats need different sizes and medicines than dogs,
etc. Have some Hill's a/d canned food on the shelves--at least enough to get through a weekend for your animal/s size
Buy a bottle of clear Karo syrup in the baking isle of the supermarket. Be ready to deal with
any kind of emergency. Even if you know how to reach me by phone--you have to have the supplies on hand--for me to guide
Ideally, you should have a bottle of Pedialyte, some canned, low sodium chicken broth, too. Order
or rent a first aid video for your animal or take a class. When I first started fostering, I went to the library and
rented one. Then, I watched it over and over and over and over--rewinding section by section--until I felt that in an
emergency, when my knees are like Jello and my heart is beating almost out of my chest, I could act out of sheer memory and
If you can, get some Tamiflu (for you and your dog!) and put it away. It is a great anti-viral
and if in capsule form, will keep for a long time unused. Get some burn ointment and Neosporin, eye ointment (non-prescription,
we use Muro Saline ointment not drops)...just start collecting all of the bits and pieces. Iodine scrub (which has come
in handy more times than I could have imagined) and sterile, non-stick gauze pads and regular gauze pads...
at the prepared kits to see what is in them and make your own if you can't afford one. Do this little by little each
week. Devote $5 or $10 each pay day and go to Wal-Mart's first aid section. It will take quite awhile--and could
be pricey--to gather all of the things that should be in your first aid kit, so start now!
Thank you for stopping by,
for listening and for caring. Especially for caring!
PS I'll be back on Monday.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I'm All Dogged Out
19 aug 10 @ 4:46 am cdt
I never thought I would reach the point of saying, "enough." Taking care of the RR alone during the week
is almost killing me. We have got to do something different.
At 4:23 AM, I just put in the last load of wash,
took warm blankets out of the dryer and changed out any wet linens. Now, I'd like to brush my teeth, close my eyes and
collapse. There are a precious few hours now before the sun rises and the snores of all of the sleeping doggies will
become breakfast nudges and barks. There is no time to luxuriate in writing my blogs for hours and hours. They
need to be short and sweet.
Mike, on the other hand, even though he is working, is on "vacation." The
company gave him a furnished two bedroom apartment with an attached garage and is sponsoring his meals and "incidentals"
for 60 days since it will be awhile 'til he actually gets paid. Since we have lived for so long cutting corners, especially
on ourselves, he is trying to find places to eat dinner for $1--one dollar--still. I keep telling him to go out and
have a good burger or warm dinner but I think until he sees that money is coming in, he won't. It is like living through
the Great Depression--living normally again didn't come back overnight. Mike says he comes home to work!
The RR is still
running about $2200 a month for food, vet bills, Dingos, supplies. That is still my responsibility. Mike is going
to save the house and dig out from debt. Thankfully, our health insurance is covered by his company which saves over $900/month--even
though the insurance is not as great as the one we had before.
If we were in Los Angeles, maybe I could take a handful
of cuties and bring them down to be extras in the movies! We may have to stand on a street corner, "Will bark for
Dingos!" or do something equally creative. Adopting out about ten of the puppies would lessen the work and financial
load but they have to be spayed/neutered first before they can go out. I hope people adopting our puppies will make
a contribution toward the RR or Project Hope. I don't like talking about money but I think we are at a crossroads where
I just have to.
The weather has been so very, very hot all day long and in a normally cool area, the dogs/puppies
are running around for a minute and then heading in. They are smart enough to know that a/c and cold floor tile is better
than the scorching heat and sun. The amount of water we went through today alone inside was unbelievable! I kept
filling up bowl after bowl after bowl. It was like the never-ending water bowl. And, since they were all inside,
it also meant a lot of water coming out the other end, too!! Thank goodness for the washable pee pads from Linens for
I hope to be able to write more over the weekend. Right now, my pillow and quilt are fast calling my name. My
liver froze up today and I was dangerously close to having to call Mike home for an emergency. After just resting and
managing my load better, it backed down some (it feels like a frozen block of concrete is just sitting in your abdomen--the
pain is a level 9 out of 10).
When Mike was home, we ramped up our fostering and added the distemper project,
too--but when he got a job, we didn't back anything down (at least not fast enough) and now, I am holding on, praying for
ten puppies to go to an adoption partner (maybe two weeks from now).
Thanks for stopping by, for listening and for caring.
Especially for caring.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Spuds and Suds
17 aug 10 @ 5:37 am cdt
If you ever had to work 24 hours a day, every day, you can relate to how absolutely tired I am. After more than 16
months of being unemployed, Mike got a job--but not in the Houston area. Eek! Since we cannot afford to turn down
a good offer, he can only come home on weekends and at that, he is now exhausted going back to work! and I don't know
how many more days I can continue...(I keep secretly hoping that there will be a Houston-area company who needs a Geo Tech--with
a Master's in Geology and over ten years of experience, including working at Princeton University!)
Tonight, Mike called
to say, "Good Night." "So, do you appreciate all of the work that I do there?" he asked me as I was in
the middle of changing pee pads and doing the twelfth load of laundry for the day. All I could think of, as he told
me about the omelet he had for breakfast and the buffet they had at work during a conference, was how hungry I was!
I barely have time to grab a few slices of cheese--I'm even skipping the bread at this point that would have made a sandwich.
weight should be plummeting but it is not. I am drinking more than my normal share of cream soda--I think for the instant
energy that I get from the sugar. I made the switch from Pepsi/corn syrup to the "healthier" soda with cane
sugar hoping that that would make a difference in my putting on the L-Bs, but nada so far. I am still fat. Ugh.
had Mike bring home some organic potatoes. He called me from a store that sold some great organic products--and that
was what I was craving at the time, I guess! On Saturday, I boiled them (washing them in a hydrogen peroxide rinse first)
and in a separate pan, sauteed a big, chopped up sweet onion in olive oil. I added a can of sweet, baby peas and then
added the potatoes--and layered it all with Land O' Lakes white American cheese. Salt and pepper. Put a cover on it to get
the cheese to melt. A simple, one pan (sort of) dinner for us--with lots of watching eyes waiting for a taste, too!
cooked up extra potatoes, tossed with olive oil and mash up or cut up and mix with hamburger or Natural Balance rolls for
the dogs. They do indeed love spuds--of any kind! Sweet potatoes, regular, mashed, baked, grilled, boiled...seems
like they like them even without butter or oil, too. I try to give every animal a taste of all new foods--that way, when they
move along to their forever homes, most things will be familiar. It is time-consuming to give each and every puppy or
dog a taste of something that I just made, but they wait patiently knowing that their little taste is coming and I just cannot
Mike's mom is staying put for the week at Bill's daughter's house. She is having Bill cremated
this week and then will take his ashes home with her. She was shocked to learn that it will cost over $2300 to do this.
She also had to pay for a death certificate and her friends told her to order 20 copies of it. Apparently, you have
to give a copy to the bank, IRS, etc. etc. and everyone wants a certified or original copy. (Who would have thought!?)
The little details that we never knew. She is feeling very lost--Bill took care of everything and was a social butterfly.
Now, having to face life alone after more than 40 or 45 years together, she is pretty upset and disoriented. (His family
sends their thanks for all of your prayers and emails/kind words. I read them over the phone at the end of the day.)
with terminal cancer, still needs to find homes for her four dogs. Does anyone have an idea or want to sponsor one of
them? Maybe they can go to a rescue group out of state where the foster homes are not so full? The Houston market
is saturated but it is not like that going up north--even into Canada--or east or west. She needs some volunteers to
start contacting those other rescue groups and circulating photos and the dogs' bios. You can email Mary at: Maryco35@aol.com
hear a house full of snoring canines so I'd best lay down and get in sync with them. Otherwise, when they want to get
up and eat breakfast, I'll still be here typing and by the end of the day, I will just want to collapse. As it is, I
am working twenty minutes on and off--resting in-between! Dr. Sears is off this week so we are taking a break on Project
Hope--just helping sick dogs to get help. With distemper, there is no time to waste. Every single moment counts!
for stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Cell Phone Lost/Cell Phone Found (Thankfully)
14 aug 10 @ 5:24 am cdt
I was on the phone with a Project Hope volunteer--outside, at night, in the dark (well the porch light was on). I
had a happy, active puppy with me. We were discussing Dr. Sears' latest revelation--the vitamin B12 injections/vitamin
B supplements that vets are giving distemper animals in an attempt to make them stronger is actually killing them! It
helps the distemper virus replicate faster and get stronger! This was a huge break-through. So many animals get
to Project Hope after being on IV fluids with Vit B12! Holy cow.
I feel a huge obligation to get the word
out to vets--about how serum works as well--but how do we do share these kind of tidbits on a massive scale? So many
things we have learned need to be shared.
As we were talking about how to get this info out--and subsequent discoveries--my
phone found its way to the ground and being a black phone, it was impossible to find! When Mike came home, he
went out with a flashlight and could not find it either--that is until someone texted me and the phone "binged"
deep in the grass! It was very surreal to be looking at the grass and hear "it" making a noise! (My caller
could hear a dog sniffing the phone in-between!)
On our way in, there was a baby frog hopping ahead of us. They
like to hang around the pools--even though I dump the baby pools at night, the grass stays wet and we get all shapes and sizes
of frogs. They fascinate me. I have to watch the dogs though--some like to lick the frogs (which could be poisonous)
and others cant to "play" with them which could be dangerous to the frogs!
I would very much appreciate any
ideas on how to start reaching vets with things that we are learning. Maybe an ad or column in a vet mag? But where
do the funds come from to do this. Next time you are at your vet's office, please ask what publication they read front to
back each month. My email address is: email@example.com We cannot send out letters all the time
(expense and waste of energy) and many vets don't read their emails.
We are in need of unaltered--not spayed or neutered
yet--blood donor dogs, at least 9 mos old and 60 pounds but really, 100 plus pounds the better! Unaltered mixed breeds
make the strongest serum--to save the sickest puppies--but where are they?
There is a Donor Dog flier on www.firststop-laststop.com that you could print and post at work, the dog park, give to neighbors--or send as an attachment via email. Please
help if you can. Dogs don't have to die of distemper anymore between the vaccines and Dr. Sears discovery, NDV-induced
serum but we cannot make serum if we don't have blood donors! It is truly a gift to all dogs and their owners.
you for stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Home Again, Distemper Wave Begins
13 aug 10 @ 3:13 am cdt
Tired but happy to be working, Mike got back to the RR close to midnight--right in the middle of letting everyone out for
the last potty/linens change/clean up...He needs to get to sleep fast with a very long-awaited dentist appointment first thing
in the morning. He has been putting off going for months trying to hang onto the RR and at this point, if he doesn't
go, he will lose some teeth I think.
As he changes the pee pads for Brindy and Millie's playpen, I took these few moments
to steal away and write. It has to be short though--I have to get back to "work." Doing his RR work
and my own writing and the distemper Project Hope, has been exhausting. We did a lot while he was home--his unemployment
time didn't go to waste--but now we have to back down some. I will not be able to sustain this for long.
I had two distemper cases--one in Miami and one local. The local case was critical--poor Jake has been sick for weeks,
being kept at other vets on Doxy and IV fluids. This is such a sin. The vets waste precious time doing this nonsense
which has zero impact on distemper and the -induced bacterial pneumonia and are just costing owners a fortune and animals
their lives. I almost cannot stand to hear this same profile anymore. What is wrong with these vets?!
I heard, Jake and his owner were at the doggie ER about 10 PM--very sadly, I think he was being euthanized. He owner sent
me an email that he wished he'd met me two weeks ago. So sad. While I volunteered to sponsor a brain tap through Project
Hope--the only chance of helping a dog when the distemper has crossed into the brain--(with a new vet wanting to get involved--but
could not do the tap until tomorrow), the owner did not have any aftercare help--for a week or two, someone needs to be babysitting
the tap dogs. They need meds, make sure they eat/drink, etc. It takes a lot to save the life of your animal.
screaming that comes with a neurologic distemper seizure is gut-wrenching and I think Jake's owner could not stand to see
him like that. He has one at 6:15 PM and then must have had another to get him to the doggie ER. When Baby Hope had
one after her brain tap, it practically shook the entire building. It made my soul hurt it was so awful but I knew that
that was her only Hope to live. I just held her, all wrapped up securely in a blanket, and walked it out. Thankfully,
there was only one of that magnitude. Over the course of a week, they became less intense and easier to manage.
of the problem is that vets are not educated that a treatment for distemper exists. We have two hundred DVDs for vets
and need to get them out sooner than later. We have the mailing addresses, but need sponsors to help with mailing and padded
envelop costs--just volunteer to send out to 10 vets (or whatever you can do) and we'll get the DVDs and cover letters to
you. You would then mail them out.
The Miami case was easier. The dog had not gone neuro yet. It was sick
enough to be on IV fluids at a vet's (sub-Q fluids are the last choice for distemper animals FYI) and again, Doxy was given
to the animal. All vets try Doxycycline first I think, hoping that the dogs just have Kennel Cough and it will clear
up in ten days. Those ten days though is like not treating them at all and the disease rages on.
There was serum
at a vet in Orlando--just a four to five hour drive--to me that's a hop, skip and a jump to get serum. People drive
cross-country to get it! The owner was hemming and hawing about waiting to get it, do more research, try to find a vet
to make serum near her...I said, "Please stop. Your dog will be dead by the time you find a vet and a donor dog
and make serum." She was greatly offended and told me not to talk to her like that again. No problem.
I have lots more animals I can save.
After she thought about it, and called the vet I told her to call and arranged
to pick up the serum to bring back to her vet in Miami, she sent me a thank you email for telling her like it is and getting
her on the path of saving her dog. Too many people wait and see for a week or two and their animals die. I am
tired of seeing that--and I guess my bedside manors are worn a little thin. I wasn't rude but I was very matter-of-fact/told
it like it is.
Well, Mike is here showing me maps and things and talking non-stop about work and travel and this, that
and the other thing. I'd best write more tomorrow.
Thanks for stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Long Nights, Early Mornings
12 aug 10 @ 5:05 am cdt
The beginning of day four of taking care of the RR myself just started at 4:00 AM. I finished day three at 12:30
AM. A three hour nap and it is time to start all over again. Thankfully, I have several three hour naps mapped
out strategically throughout the day/night or I would fall flat on my face.
Mike promised to be home late tonight.
For three days, he'll be here to take over (I hope) or at least to pitch in. I know he has errands to do and a dentist
to go to, but four hands would be much better than a tired two.
For three days now on the fourth, Mike has pretty much
been on his own and I think he is enjoying the freedom--and lack of responsibility. The washing machine goes non-stop.
The dishwasher once or twice a day. The vacuuming. Watering the trees, plants, dogs, pools...Who gets what medicine,
supplements, special diets, treats, Dingos...well, it is pretty overwhelming. All he has to do is get himself to work and
sit in front of a computer all day.
We stopped taking in dogs/puppies at the RR with the exception of Maggie the German
Shepherd. She was so gentle and neglected and I was asked to take her as a special favor. Brindy and Millie are
her playmates and even though she is still recovering, I saw her zoom across the yard today, chasing Kasey chasing a bird!
I wanted to clap it was so exciting to see a dog who was just barely walking, starting to get stronger.
The month of
August is slow in the rescue world. People are on vacation, it is too hot to go out and look for pets, and school and
relocations are on everyone's mind. Come September, though, we have a bunch of puppies who will be going to adoption
partners. Things will be a lot easier then for me. After that, I am only going to take in and do medical fostering for animals
who have a finite time here and a place to go when they are better. (I think I'm going to ask for a contract, too, spelling
out the details/time frames, etc.)
I finally found out today why my kitchen floor has been really wet lately.
I turned the corner to see Millie standing in the water bowl (it is big) and digging/splashing/having fun! Ah-ha!
I thought we had a leak in the kitchen. Nope, just a water baby finding a way to have more fun.
I hear the snores
of a bunch of happy canines--and so, I am going to take advantage and lay down for a little bit. Thanks for stopping
by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Pools Are Fun!
11 aug 10 @ 5:47 am cdt
I just posted five photos of Millie and Brindy playing in the tiniest pool at the RR on my Rescue Volunteer facebook
page (link at the top of this page). Since some of my readers have not registered, I thought I'd share one here, too!
is so much fun watching them play--running in and out of the pool, jump/sliding in, taking their toys in and out--they play
for an hour at a time, happy to get wet, dry off running in the wind, and coming back for more. If you can, collect three
or four baby pools and place them around the yard. The dogs will run in/from pool to pool like an obstacle course.
dogs/puppies have a natural affinity to water. I see that when they get old enough to stand in their water bowls or
"dig" the water out of their water dishes! I know that they will be pool babies.
in awhile, an animal comes along who objects to even getting their feet wet! No matter how hard I try to introduce them,
to show them that the pool is OK--or even the bathtub--they won't have it. Usually in those instances, I am the one
who gets soaked as they scramble fast to get out of the water!
If you have pools set up in your yard, be sure to cover
them or dump them every night. You don't want lots of bugs to lay eggs in it, only to have your fun-loving dogs lap
it up. Better to be safe than sorry. The same with outdoor water bowls--dump them, take them in and wash them
up and put them out fresh in the morning. Too many illnesses can be transferred to your dogs from other parched animals
coming to get a drink of water.
In this heat, even if you have the pools out and shade, it is really best to limit the
time the animals have outside. They can easily overheat and it is very hard to cool them off--and could require a visit
to the ER. Let them go out for multiple short sessions so they can come in and cool off in-between.
stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.
Update: Mike was still at work at
1 AM trying to put in extra hours to come home Thursday after work. He is trying to reduce the number of days per week
that I have to handle the RR alone. He must be as exhausted as I am! He may have to go to "Plan B"--whatever
that is if I cannot handle the RR alone.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Day One: Running the RR Solo
9 aug 10 @ 8:33 pm cdt
I don't think it helped that I stayed up all night getting Mike ready for his trip. He wouldn't go to sleep because
he was afraid he would miss his alarm so I volunteered to stay up and make sure he got up, too. Normally, I would take
a three or four hour nap before getting up to write in the early morning.
After I got Mike up and on his way, I let
some of the dogs out before I went to bed. I thought I could stay up and watch the news--but when I woke up, a show
I didn't recognize was on. Millie was barking to go out and I was hoping she would wait just a little bit longer.
No luck. She had to go out.
Once I got up, it was time to get everyone out, watered and fed. A couple of
the RR herd still haven't figured out that you go out to do your business, not just to play--and after running outside, came
in and left me a few presents to clean up. Ugh. I filled up the pool and Millie and Brindy went right out and
did a jumping slide right into it. The two were sitting there looking at each other, water up to their necks.
I had to laugh! I could just see them as two girls, drinking a Margarita, talking about their families and the heat.
and afternoons are hard for me. My liver keeps me sick to my stomach and just standing up for a few feet, I get queasy.
For some reason, by the evenings, it is back to working more or less and everything will seems a lot easier to manage, I hope.
Itty Bitties time to go wonder the property is before dusk--when the heat of the day has passed and the sunset is just starting
to turn pink. They know almost like a clock that it is their wandering time--not just go out and potty time, but time
to meander, to explore. They wait for each other and go smell everything that went on during the day--I can see them
following the scents and trails of some of the bigger dogs.
It's almost supper-time for me. Mike stocked up on
my sugar cookies before he left. I think I have enough to last for a winter hibernation! I am still waiting for
the cola syrup for nausea and until it arrives, sugar cookies are my best friend. He kind of ran out of time to go to
the grocery store so for this week, the pantry has dried pasta, pasta and pasta. Hmmm, maybe I'll try pasta! I need
to make sure this doesn't happen for the next week. Suddenly, I am craving foods that I haven't wanted in a year--but
now that they are not in the house, and I don't drive, I have a hankering for!
Mike called when he got to his new office--but
I haven't heard a thing since then. I know he had an 8 AM meeting (and just made it) and then has to stay in a hotel
for a few nights while the company gets a corporate apartment ready. Thankfully, they pay for all of that. Normally,
the family would be there, too, but they are not set up to welcome the Rescue Ranch! When he left this morning, Mike
said he had to get back to work to get some rest! Boy, do I understand that.
I hope this works out. I really hope
secretly that another offer comes in and he can just come home. The RR as we know and love it is a pretty neat place
No news abut his dad. His mother said she would call if he took a turn for the worst.
It is so sad to go from a strong, vibrant man to dying in five weeks or so. I can't really understand how this happened--and
his mom is really in a tizzy, not much help explaining it all. The person who was her everything is passing on and she
is being left behind to figure it all out.
I'll update this entry after Mike calls tonight. I know a lot of people
are praying for his family and cheering for him. We are not out of the woods yet by far, but there is light on the horizon.
for stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.
Update: Mike called and although tired,
he is happy to be back at work again. He is in a temporary office while they move people around and get him over to
the section he will be actually working with. It looks like for a month or two, he will be able to work more hours Mon-Thurs
and can come home on Thurs nights.
I asked Mike if he missed the dogs. "I dont miss all of the work,
thats for sure!" He said he's going to enjoy a few nights of sleeping without legs and tails sticking in his back,
too! Kasey and Penny seem to be missing him the most--they are sleeping on his side of the bed and keep looking up,
waiting for him to come in.
Time for sleep! While everyone is snoring, I think I'd best get to it as well.
Thanks for caring!
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Almost The End of A Life
8 aug 10 @ 11:36 pm cdt
Please read my story, A Man Lays Dying: A Final Good-Bye, in the Houston Chronicle Sunday for more on Mike's dad. Thank you all for your prayers. This is an extremely
difficult time for Mike, especially emotionally. He has to start a new job far away from where his dad is spending his
very last days.
Hugs from the Herd-
Saturday, August 7, 2010
A Life Coming To An End
7 aug 10 @ 4:12 am cdt
We are on pins and needles tonight. Mike's dad (well, actually his step-dad since he was a very little boy) is dying.
A month ago, he was diagnosed with lung cancer--after having prostate cancer the year before. He opted to have radiation seeds
implanted in his prostate instead of radical surgery. My guess is that the cancer spread.
Tonight, his mother said
that the dad is making non-stop blood clots and if one reaches his heart or brain, he will be dead. Thankfully, he has
a daughter who is a nurse so mom and dad are staying with her and her family. The daughter's husband has been out of
work for over two years but is a good guy and helping out, too.
We will know more over the weekend, but
if you would kindly keep Mike's dad in your prayers we would be grateful.
It is a tense night here--Mike's
mom told him to stay home but he is torn between going to say his good-byes--and if he headed there, would he even make it
in time. He is gettng ready to leave for his new job which he needs to retain for our family. He cannot afford
to lose it before he even starts.
Mom, Dad, Mike and I have had some long talks sitting out on their patio, drinking
ice tea. I know his dad believes in life after death, God, heaven, and would cherish seeing his own mother once again--which
I pray is something he is blessed with. On a night like this, I wish families all lived in the same town like the olden
days--not be separated by 1500 miles or so which feels like a million miles in an emergency.
Already, his mother is
making plans for after dad passes. Their house is now on the market, their cars, his little boat engine repair post-retirement
business. When I heard that tonight, I knew that death is near. She doesn't know what to do after he dies--and Mike
asked me privately if I would consider making room at the RR for one more...
Thank you for caring.
Friday, August 6, 2010
6 aug 10 @ 6:42 am cdt
The dogs may not know that it is their birthday--but we sure do! A long year of blood, sweat and tears--and laughter--has
made time fly!
Awhile back, a very thoughtful care package contained lots of Kasey's favorites--Mac & Cheese! We have to cook eight
boxes at a time to give everyone a taste when Kasey gets some for dinner!
Kasey-Kase is ten!
He joined us on our vacation three and a half years ago--with an ear infection that was the worst I've ever seen. It
took me five days to clean out the gunk to be able to even take him to a vet!
At 8 AM, we pulled up to Mike's
Grandma's house for breakfast. I opened my door and to my great surprise, Kasey jumped straight up into my lap!
Wasn't I surprised. I never saw him coming. He was a bundle of bones, and so tiny. I immediately checked
for a phone number and thanked God that he had one on his collar! I was so very worried that someone was out looking
for their missing puppy. I thought he was months old.
I had to call his owners several times. Finally, the
husband answered the phone. He was kinda sleepy. "Hi, I have your puppy...." Turns out that Kasey
had run away a little earlier that morning--chasing birds. The family had taken him in when they lived in a house with
a fenced yard but had moved to an apartment--with no fence. The mother had two young kids and was letting little tiny
Kasey out in the complex alone. My heart just started to break.
The husband drove over to meet us. "I'll
take him to the shelter..." he said to us. Huh? "We've had to go get him at the shelter too many times
since we've moved. We can't keep doing this." "If that is the case, we'll just take him home with us,"
I heard myself saying. We were on vacation, thousands of miles from home, and I could feel Mike trying to tell me telepathically
that the last thing we needed on vacation was a dog we didn't even know! (We had other dogs with us in the car.)
husband called his wife. They decided if we really loved dogs, they would give Kasey to us. After all, they had
only had him for a short while. He had been the beloved dog of a soldier who had been shipped overseas. The wife
asked us to wait before we left Grandma's house. She wanted to bring her little toddlers to say good-bye to Kase.
were very late coming to say good-bye. We were all packed up and in the car waiting. A small woman with two small
kids in tow approached my window. She was teary-eyed and Kasey obviously was glad to see them but he was staying on
my lap. He didn't move. The mother handed me a tiny bag of Kasey's stuff--a green and white leash, some ear meds
and wash, and a bag with two Greenies. It was just so sad to see that that was all he had accumulated in his little
life. He was six and a half then. (We had never had Greenies at the RR until then. We started getting them
for Kasey and then all of the other dogs wanted them, too!)
The drive home was a picnic. He was well-behaved,
leash-trained and LOVED eating at all of the fast food stops. It became clear as a bell that Kasey was used to eating
ketsup on his fries and lapping up Coca-cola from the top of my cup! Shakes were a fav and so were cheeseburgers. He
would even cry when we were passing a McDonald's or Wendy's if he was hungry. If we didn't see it, we sure did after
a few really loud howls!
When we got home, we thought we'd get his ear all better and adopt him out. Our vet took
a look at his vaccine records and history/age, and said, "Two moves is a lot for a dog. Three is the most I'd like
to see in their lifetime. He seems really happy and he is almost a senior dog (over 7). If you can find a way
to keep him, that would be best for him." Well, we were not anticipating keeping this little peanut, but today,
I can tell you, he is Mike's best buddy (along with Bitty). Kasey doubled in size since he's gotten the proper nutrition--not
an ounce of fat on him--and he loves to take a running rocket start when he sees birds outside and jumps and twirls and chases
them! I can see how he got lost without a fence--he just keeps following the flock!
Today is also the James Bond
litter's one year birthday!
These little cuties have not been adopted yet! I just don't know why. From left to right: Cubby, James,
Sue, Q, Gracie, Goldie and Emmie. (See story link below to see their "today" photos.)
boys are available but the girls need to stick together and stay either here or with someone who works for an orthodontist.
Gracie's mouth is not developing correctly--the littlest black girl. She is in the middle of an evaluation for doggie
braces and possible/probably mouth surgery!
One of her teeth is coming in sticking straight out (look over to the top right)--and her front teeth are biting on
her tongue, about an inch or more behind her bottom teeth, which is starting to twist her upper jaw. A doggie dentist was
hoping that she would just have an underbite but now it looks like this was caused by an injury in utero--she must have been
the puppy that was landed on in her mama's tummy when Miss MP was hit by a car.
In addition to braces, Gracie is probably
going to need surgery to realign her jaws. I will know more in a week or so after her most recent x-rays are evaluated.
This is a very rare case. I guess we'll all learn something new!
If you want to see updated photos of the litter--and
revisit the day of their birth--see my story in today's Houston Chronicle: Happy Birthday! Looking Back To James Bond Puppies' Birth Day (If the link doesn't work, just go to www.chron.com/rescuevolunteer) and look for today's headline.
There are other birthdays this weekend, too--so I guess we'll need to bake a cake or
cupcakes! It has been a standing policy at the RR that every single dog/puppy/person gets a little cake and a little
ice cream at all birthday celebrations. No matter how small, we all enjoy every bite!
Thanks for stopping by,
for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Mike's Getting Ready to Go
4 aug 10 @ 7:35 am cdt
Our lives are in flux right now. Mike is gearing up to start his new job soon. The company is providing a temporary,
furnished apartment for a few months while he gets settled in. After that, either we move or he needs to rent a room
or find a very cheap apartment to stay in during the week--and commutes.
I have to develop a grocery list that will
carry us for a week at a time. Since I got sick, I don't drive unless it is a life and death emergency, so if we run
out of something, we'll have to wait. My list includes Redi-wip, olive oil, American Cheese, mac & cheese...hmmm,
sounds like the dogs' shopping list not mine!
I don't really want to move. I have made it pretty clear.
Unless Mike can find a perfect property for a new RR, I'm staying put. I am going to have to have to support the herd
though if I stay here. We won't be able to swing both once his company stops sponsoring the extra expenses.
company has made a nice offer--they will pay for packing and moving, as well as the real estate fees if I will move.
All things considered, it is still a lot of work. You still have to organize your home/almost pre-pack everything fragile,
personal, that you cherish before packers come in! I just don't know if I have the energy to do all of that. It
will take me months at the very least to get ready.
Since there is a 90 day probation period, I am going to sit tight
and just do a little organizing each just in case. After that time, Mike and I will have to talk about what we are or
are not going to do. I still can't wrap my mind even around how to move the herd itself! One of my good friends
said to rent an RV and crate everyone and move 'em out. Can you imagine the comedy that would be? Mike thinks he can make
multiple driving trips with a full car.
We have a lot to move. It is not the same as when we were
younger--a bedroom set, desk, computer, couple of dogs...Last time we were on a relo, a gigantic 18 wheeler came in with a
small fleet of men to pack and load the house. It took them three days. I am sure it will be similar now, with
the additional complication of the herd.
All I know, is that it will be sometime early next year before I have to make
any serious decisions, I hope. That gives me time to putter during the week and put like stuff with like stuff, pull
out what is really personal or dear, without getting stressed from a move in a week.
I'm sure if Mike finds a
perfect new RR, my decision will be influenced but he will have a lot of work to do. After he is done with his job during
the day, he'll have to go driving around to learn about the new area. I don't want to live near power lines (causes cancer),
don't want to live near a dam (scared), in a flood plain (too hard to move everyone fast), on a highway or busy street (dangerous),
and close enough to his office, that if I am sick, he can come home at lunchtime to take over doggie duty.
mind is on distemper and taking care of the current herd. His mind is on the future--he would be gone already if it
were possible--he is so excited to start work. It will be interesting to see if he comes home every weekend or if that is
too much for him. He may have to stay and do some serious real estate hunting--and take photos/videos to try to convince
me to pull up stakes here--and it will take some convincing!
Thanks for stopping by, for listening and for caring.
Especially for caring!
PS Thanks for finding Sally McAninch/Lab Rescue/Houston.
Turns out, she had lost her cell phone and couldn't get messages for a week. (Good reason to set up our voice-mail to
retrieve messages remotely!) Unfortunately, after getting that message, I never heard from her again and still don't
know how to pick up our washable pee pads. She must be very busy. Sorry to those who are waiting for some from our order.
We'll just have to get a new order placed if we don't connect with Sally this week.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Sick Day and Sugar Wafers
3 aug 10 @ 6:54 am cdt
I really think there is a connection between distemper and people! Every single time I am near distemper animals,
I don't feel good for days. Boy, would I like to put my finger on the connection.
I am living on sugar wafer cookies
overnight trying to quell the nausea from my liver shutting down. I turn yellow, the pain, oh the pain...and other than
laying down, hoping that the pain goes away with heating pads, ice packs and meds, I am worthless.
So, for today,
please excuse my lack of writing. I'm here in spirit but my body is saying, "Red Alert. Red Alert. Lay down or
you will throw up!" Thank God for sugar wafers!
One of my friends got very sick this past weekend.
She thinks she had food poisoning. When I called to check on her, she was eating sugar wafers! She said after
hearing me say that it kept me from throwing up all of the time, when she got sick, she had her husband go buy her favs--and
was able to keep them down.
Just like the Karo syrup helps quell nausea for sick dogs, and cotton candy for rolller-coaster
queasiness, sugar wafers seem to do the trick for us humans! To me they are a "must have" staple in the house.
(The ones that work the best, I've found so far, are Biscos' Sugar Wafers. (To find a store near you that carries them:
800 622 4726)
Time to lay down again. Mike's on doggie duty today. Thankfully, he hasn't started work yet!
Just a PS: When Brindy was so sick with a life-threatening case of Demodex, Distemper, Distemper-induced bacterial
pneumonia and she just wouldn't eat anything, I tried the sugar wafers. It worked. Brindy ate sugar wafers and
chicken broth to get on the road to healing. She still loves them today--and recognizes the box when she sees me carrying
Monday, August 2, 2010
Weekends Are Hard Work
2 aug 10 @ 12:28 am cdt
Back in the day, I used to look forward to the weekend--we'd sleep in, walk the dogs, go out to dinner, take in a movie
and on special nights, even two--or go to the drive-in--come home, walk the dogs again--and again, then church, brunch and
gardening/playing with the dogs as we try to garden, I should say. Like the one before it and the one afterward, we
had a very peaceful, planned-ahead kinda life.
Then came the distemper project! Weekends ramp up with work--calls,
emails, emergencies. By Monday morning, I am falling down exhausted. A lot of times we can make the difference
between life and death. Sometimes we can't. We are in the middle of a case that may or may not work out the way
we'd all like to see--recovery.
A little dog, 28 or so pounds, Boxer-girl with the cutest underbite, has something bad
going on neurologically. We don't know if she is losing her vision and hearing from neurologic distemper or as a side
effect of something like Lyme Disease or even Ehrlicia. Knowing whether she needs a brain tap or an IV of corticosteroids
and antibiotics is the 24 million dollar question. No testing was done by any of her vets prior to this and now she
is facing euthanasia today if we don't help her--or if the rescue won't let us.
I worked all afternoon and evening on
this case. Getting vets, input, lining up the possibilities--and now the rescue group has to decide if they will give
this girl one more chance. It is now in God's hands. I have to turn it over to Him just for a little while.
between, Princess' foster called. She really, really, really needs someone to foster Princess who can keep her on crate
rest and low key activities. She has too many dogs at her house who like to play rough and Princess has hurt her hip.
In addition, she was x-rayed last week, and has double hip displaysia! One side is worse that the other though. We
want to try the laser/chiro treatments to see if that will help her first--one of the teaching-level chiros said we can make
a difference that way. If not, there is always surgery. Does anyone have room for a sweet, loving, wonderful 60 lb dog
to come rest/get loved for awhile?
Princess is one of the nicest dogs you'll ever meet. Can someone please take her in? She must find a new
foster in the next few days.
Mary, the woman with stage four cancer, had one of her dogs adopted this weekend!
KPRC re-ran the piece that Courtney Zavala did and it worked. But, it was a fifth dog (turns out Mary has six--but she's
trying to hang on to one or two) whose photo I don't even have. She is being incredibly brave adopting out her personal
dogs. It is much better to do this now than to have them taken to a shelter or leave it to a bereaved husband/wife to
I find that usually only one half of a couple is a true rescuer--the other half, just barely tolerates, or
maybe humors, them. When a Saint foster died a year or two ago, instead of splitting up all of the fosters and their own dogs,
the husband hired help to come and take care of them all. That made my heart sing. This was a man honoring the
passion of saving lives that his wife had--and honoring her memory. Not many will do that. We all need to think and
Every weekend for me these days is life and death, life and death...that is the nature of being on the cutting
edge of treating distemper. In early October, it will be a full year from when Dr. Sears was here tutoring us to founding
Project Hope. I had to learn to do everything I can and then, "Let go and let God" basically. Many more live but
the few that don't, who find us too late, are still tough emotionally.
And every weekend, it is reinforced to me that
someone has to take this disease off of our radar--but this particular someone can't do it alone. From blood donor dogs to
funds needed to keep going to spreading the word with the DVDs, I can't help but wonder, where are all of the dog owners/lovers
of the world? Don't they care, too?
It is in all of our best interests that this project succeed. If, God forbid,
this virus mutates beyond our current vaccines--like Parvo 2C just did--lots of everyones will need the Project Hope serum.
What if it doesn't exist anymore because only me, Dr. Sears, Prof Ed Bond and one or two other people cared...
for stopping by, for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.